Mason falls to VCU in Atlantic 10 quarterfinals

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First of all, George Mason basketball exceeded expectations this season and overachieved to a 20-win campaign that has brought this program new life. How Dave Paulsen got these guys to buy into his system of hard work, especially on the glass and on defense, is nothing short of amazing. What a turnaround and yeah it sure would have been nice to finally knock VCU out a conference tournament but the program just isn’t there yet. But boy did this group fight, all season long. Seniors Marquise Moore and Jalen Jenkins tried to keep Mason in this one late but fell short. Moore set an A-10 tournament record averaging 18 rebounds a game but his 11 points just weren’t enough. As a team they didn’t let turnovers or VCU’s big front line beat them but they failed to shoot the ball well when they needed it, especially on three-pointers.

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Scoring droughts were definitely a problem this season and a lot of that was due to inconsistent long range shooting. They made a living this season getting to the free-throw line and it’s what kept them in the game against VCU and even the lead through certain times. But they weren’t able to build on it last night and eventually the free-throw attempts evened out between the two teams. With six guys playing a lot of minutes in both games in this tournament for them you have to wonder if they simply ran out of gas. It was definitely a hard fought battle for them and depth was another issue all season.

Mason has proved though that they can certainly win and be efficient on offense with a short rotation. Howvever it simply won’t work with Otis and Grayer combining for only 20 points and hitting only two threes between the both of them. They were the guys that Mason just needed more scoring from last night. VCU gave Moore a lot of attention and Mason couldn’t find a way to take advantage even though they were showing good ball movement.

Mason’s chances at the NIT are very slim, they most likely needed a win over VCU to be in the conversation. So will they either do the CBI or CIT tournament? We’ll have to see. It would make sense considering they return a lot of young guys next season.

  • http://www.twitter.com/erikhernquist Erik Hernquist

    I’m proud of this team and their very quick turnaround.

    If Moore and Jenkins have played their last games as Patriots – thanks for becoming leaders on such a very young team with a new coaching staff. Change isn’t always easy and these two men rose to the occasion.

  • Days of Yates

    “There are no moral victories” is the popular meme, but I never bought into that thinking, and last night’s game was a good case in point. Losing always hurts, but while watching the game unfold there was little doubt in mind we could have won that game, and it wasn’t even going to be a shocking upset sort of thing… we were simply as good as they were. Though we are younger, and we did act like it at times, especially at the start of the game when they took advantage of our opening jitters. After that, we quelled the press in a manner I haven’t seen since the Coach L days. Take away that bad start, and take away VCU’s success from behind the arch late in the game (along with our failure), and we’re playing Richmond today after a confident win.
    And on that subject, it’s weird that when we started the season we were horrible with our jump shots, but the coaches reminded us that we really were good shooters. And they were right, because when we hit the sweet spot of the season, we were killing it, and didn’t we have the best 3 point percentage in the conference right around that time? But then we ended the season as we began it, going large chunks of games without being able to hit a 3.
    Anyway, one particular sour note must be mentioned: Marquis Moore demonstrated all game long why he should have been 1st Team All Conference. You know, Moore, the guy who is frequently associated with superlative phrases like “no other guard” and “most rebounds” and “not since 1998” and “averages a double-double” and “in the entire NCAA” and “guess what folks, he’s only 6’2”. But meanwhile Jaquen Lewis (or however you spell his name, who’s ever heard of him?? ;)), whose spot on the 1st team should have been reserved for Moore, who was largely invisible last night except for a few nice plays, gets all the interviews and the accolades after the game. So yeah, that was a burn.

    • swimmom1991

      All sour grapes… none of the coaches that voted on that team like being beat out by an “undersized” guard… shame they couldn’t play like grown ups 🙁

  • dsnjd1

    “Thugs”….uh’,…I mean “VCU”,… wins in overtime. I guess they’ll have to extend their work release another day.

    • dsnjd1

      I guess its back to the “Pen” tonight….thugs lose!